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40+ College Statistics in 2021

College education has been an important topic in the U.S. for decades. Here are the latest college statistics that paint the landscape of higher education in the country.

General College Statistics

  • Park, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies saw the most significant growth in the past couple of years, with 31,667 graduates – showing a 92% increase. (Niche, 2021)
  • 86% of low-income first-generation students give up on college within six years without earning a degree. (First generation foundation, 2021)
  • Every year 1,400,000 students decide to transfer to a different university. Around 10% of students rethink and change their minds about their first school of choice. (The Hechinger Report, 2020)
  • In the U.S., 58% of college presidents are over 60 years. More females are expected to take on leadership roles in American universities. Just 30% of college presidents were female in 2016. (American Council on Education, 2019)
  • Every year around 10% or 1,125,000 students drop out. One-third of them will do so due to high tuition. (Indikit, 2020)
  • It takes approximately 5.6 years to complete a bachelor’s degree. (Nscresearchcenter, 2016)
  • 19% of first-year college students hope to earn a Ph.D. (The College Solution, 2021)
  • A year of college can decrease mortality rates from certain diseases by 15-19%, primarily from heart disease and cancer. Scientist’s linked this to job security and a higher salary that can reduce prolonged exposure to stress. (Brookings, 2016)
  • In 2020 college enrollees dropped by 3.3%. (Nscresearchcenter, 2020)
  • 11% of homebuyers have just a high school diploma, and 14% attended college but never earned a degree. (Zillow, 2016)

College Enrollment Statistics

  • 14.67 million freshmen will enroll in public universities this year. (Statista, 2021)
  • Almost 15 million students will attend public universities across the U.S. starting this fall. (Statista, 2021)
  • In private universities, the number of new students is expected to be around 5.24 million. Therefore, public university enrollment will drop by 0.4% from 2018 while remaining roughly the same for private entities. (Statista, 2021)
  • From 2000 and 2010, college enrollment increased by 37%. (National Center for Education Statistics, 2020)
  • In Fall 2020, more women enrolled in college than men. (WSAC, 2021)
  • The COVID-19 crisis caused a shift in enrollment trends in the fall of 2020. There were approximately 3,000 fewer students enrolled in public 4-year institutions, causing a 2.4% drop in enrollment compared to the fall of 2019. (WSAC, 2021)
  • The number of white students enrolled fell by 5.3% in the fall of 2020 compared to 2019. There was a 5% drop in American Indian/Alaska Native students. Enrollment increased slightly for Hispanic students and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students. (WSAC, 2021)
  • 11.2 million female students were in college in 2018. (Educationdata, 2018)
  • A 3% enrollment growth is predicted between 2017 and 2028. (NCES, 2020)

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Ivy League Universities Acceptance Rate

  • Just 0.4% of undergraduates are in one of the Ivy League universities. (The College Solution, 2020)
  • Harvard University had 39,506 applicants in 2021. Only 5.2% of applicants are now enrolled in the 2023 Harvard Class. (Ivycoach, 2021)
  • Yale University had 32,900 applicants in 2021. Just 2,178 candidates were accepted, which translates to 6.9% of applicants got in. (Ivycoach, 2021)
  • Princeton University had 31,056 applicants in 2021. Only 6.1% of the applicants were accepted. (Ivycoach, 2021)
  • Columbia University had 37,389 applicants in 2021. 2,185 of this year’s applicants enrolled, which is 5.8% of the total pool. (Ivycoach, 2021)
  • Brown University had 32,724 applicants in 2021. 2,722 students were accepted, or 8.3% of this year’s applicants. (Ivycoach, 2021)
  • The University of Pennsylvania received 40,413 applications in 2021. 3,699 of the applicants received a chance to receive their degrees from this school in 2023. That translates to an acceptance rate of 9.2%. (Ivycoach, 2021)
  • Dartmouth College had 20,034 applicants in 2021. 2,092 students enrolled. This shows that only 10.4% of applicants were admitted. (Ivycoach, 2021)
  • Cornell University had 47,038 applicants in 2021. They accepted 5,889 students or 12.5% of the applicants. (Ivycoach, 2021)

Online College
Education Statistics

  • Online education has quadrupled in the last 15 years. 25.8% of all U.S. college students took at least one online class. (Online Learning Consortium, 2015)
  • The number of students who attend college exclusively online is over 2.6 million, or 12.5% of all college students. (Best Colleges Online, 2020)
  • 69% of online students are attending to advance their careers. (Best Colleges, 2021)
  • 32% of online students don’t have concerns about their choice. 23% of them say that the quality of instruction and academic support is their primary concern. 18% worry about their potential employers’ preference towards online degrees, 17% are worried about isolation and the lack of interaction with lecturers and students. (Best Colleges, 2021)

Working During College

  • 42% of college students feel depressed or hopeless because they are exhausted from working part of full-time jobs to support themselves. (Health, 2019)
  • 23% of undergraduate students work +20 hours per week to be able to afford college. (Chegg, 2021)
  • 76% of graduate students work +30 hours per week. (The Atlantic, 2015)
  • The average working student makes $11 per hour. (The Washington Post, 2015)
  • 54% of college dropouts say they were not able to balance work and school. (CreditDonkey, 2019)
  • The average student loan debt is $32,731. 59% of millennials say they are not sure when they’ll pay off their student loans. (ValuePenguin, 2021)

College Grad Statistics

  • College graduates earn $48,500 yearly, while people with a high school diploma make $23,900 on average per year. (Study, 2021)
  • 46% of jobs in the U.S. are looking for a college degree. (CollegeAtlas, 2019)
  • 14% of the employers are looking for candidates with a master’s degree or a Ph.D. High school graduates are not qualified for almost half of the jobs available in the U.S. (CollegeAtlas, 2019)
  • College graduates are more likely to purchase a home. In fact, 75% of all homebuyers hold at least a bachelor’s degree. (Zillow, 2016)